Retired provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, seen here getting his seasonal flu shot in November 2015, has returned to work on an advisory committee for COVID-19 research in B.C. (B.C. government)

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

The B.C. government opened applications April 6 for its first round of research funding to help find answers to the spread and control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Adrian Dix established a dedicated research fund at the request of Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer tasked with managing the novel coronavirus spread in the population. Priorities include impacts on rural populations and “rapid evaluation of public health countermeasures” that have reduced economic activity to essential services and emptied 40 per cent of B.C.’s acute care beds to make room for potential serious illness cases.

Henry said the fund of “at least $2 million” is administered by the Micheal Smith Foundation for Health Research, which has been working with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control on the outbreak since early January. Projects already underway include tracking infection spread to add to B.C.’s COVID-19 modelling and developing a test to see who has been exposed and who may be immune in the B.C. population.

RELATED: Canadian experts endorse use of non-medical masks

RELATED: Thousands apply for Canada’s emergency benefit

Measuring the effectiveness of business controls and travel restrictions is a high priority.

“How well are we doing with the things that we have put in place like travel restrictions, like the cancelling of in-classroom teaching in schools, like the distancing measures that we have been puting in place across society and understanding which of these measures works in which scenarios, and how well they work,” Henry said.

Henry’s predecessor as provincial health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, has also returned from retirement to join an advisory committee to guide the new research. The advisory group is led by Dr. David Patrick, a physician epidemiologist who works at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and at UBC.

The four projects already funded by the Michael Smith Foundation also include developing a vaccine for COVID-19 in conjunction with federal and international researchers, and understanding the impact of what the World Health Organization has described as an “infodemic” of disinformation about the origin and nature of the virus that emerged from Wuhan, China late in 2019.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Iconic white raven returns to Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Photographer John Domovich: ‘It blew me away when I first observed it’

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

COVID-19: City of Parksville announces gradual re-opening plan

Sports courts and playgrounds to open June 5

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Parcel stolen from front porch, Nanaimo RCMP looking for suspect

Unidentified woman allegedly stole package containing $400 smart watch

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

Lithium-ion battery fire damages suite in Nanaimo

One man displaced from home after battery for radio-controlled toy bursts into flame while charging

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Most Read